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Objective assessment of depression and its improvement

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Gyuri Denes.

Depression is among the most prevalent and burdensome disorders worldwide. It is a leading cause of disability for people aged 15-44 year, resulting in almost 400 million disability days per year, substantially more than most other physical and mental conditions. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, the amount of disability and life lost as a result of depression will be greater than that resulting from any other condition, including accidents, war, suicide, cancer, and stroke. Many factors exacerbate the wide spread of depression, including symptomatic and subjective diagnostic methods that are inaccurate and lack predictive ability, incorrect prescription of treatments of which many have significant side effects, and lack of successful preventive measures. Current approaches to assess depression are usually based on clinician rating scales, which were developed in the 1960s. The scales lack objectivity, focus only on self-reported or outwardly demonstrated symptoms, and require accurate communication, all of which contribute to inaccuracy. Together with medical experts from Boston Hospitals and Harvard, we have been conducting several clinical trials where we continuously monitor physiology, activity, voice, phone usage and sleep of depressed people while they undergo a therapy. Our aim is to enable early diagnosis of depression, prevention of depression, assessment of depression for people who cannot communicate, better assignment of a treatment, early detection of treatment remission and response, and anticipation of post-treatment relapse or recovery. In this presentation I will outline these studies and I will present initial results.

This talk is part of the Rainbow Group Seminars series.

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